Scoundrels, to Your Refuges!

Desparate for a win on something, anything, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid preemptively said he'd block fomer Solicitor General Ted Olson if Bush nominated him to replace Alberto Gonzales.

Reason's been tough on Olson in the past. Jacob Sullum caught him fibbing about sex offender stats, Julian Sanchez caught him playing dumb on copyright law. Yesterday Bill Sammon, the Washington Examiner White House reporter and author of such scathing critiques of presidential power as Misunderestimated: The President Battles Terrorism, Media Bias and the Bush Haters and Strategery: How George W. Bush Is Defeating Terrorists, Outwitting Democrats, and Confounding the Mainstream Media appeared on Fox's Special Report with Brit Hume to argue that Olson should be confirmed because his wife Barbara died on 9/11. He started off subtle:

SAMMON: Now Ted Olson was married to Barbara Olson, who died in the 9/11 plane crash into the Pentagon, and she was--

HUME: She was a--

SAMMON: She was a partisan.

Hume started on about resistance to Olson, at which point Sammon stopped being subtle.

SAMMON: I think beating up on a 9-11 widower makes about as much sense as beating up on General Petraeus. When it was the 9-11 widows no one was allowed to talk about it. But here is a guy who lost his wife on 9-11 and they are going to beat him up. I think it makes no sense politically.

HUME: But he is remarried now, isn't he? Moved on?

LIASSON: Yes.

KONDRACKE: I don't think you can make that case, Bill.

This is a fantastically silly argument but at the end of a long week when the big question was "Do you accept David Petraeus as your personal Lord and Savior?" it's worth revisiting. Victims of national tragedies only have credibility as it extends to the issues surrounding those tragedies. The 9/11 Widows were taken seriously and gifted with loving press coverage only when they were discussing 9/11 and security matters—when they lobbied for a 9/11 Commission, for example. When some of them endorsed John Kerry, the gloves came off. The same went for Cindy Sheehan: Saintly when she was asking to meet with George W. Bush and end the war, credibility shot once she morphed into a Hugo Chavez-hugging rent-a-activist. The Terri Schiavo thing wasn't exactly a national tragedy (one person died), but her birth family haven't had much success extending their activism beyond "save our daughter" to "end euthanasia now!"

If anyone actually uses Sammon's argument to confirm a man as attorney general of the United States, she/he should be laughed off the public stage.

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  • ||

    I already see what's coming...

    Democrats try to stop yet another completely unqualified Bush crony from getting into a high position. The administration responds with bullshit emotional appeals like "why beat up on a 9-11 widower" (as if that somehow qualifies this guy for the AG position).

    With that and Hillary's Healthcare Homogeny... well, New Zealand, here I come.

  • ||

    9/11!

  • ||

    I think we should just go ahead and make this the answer to every question now.

    Why is the sky blue?

    9/11.

    Why are giraffes necks so long?

    9/11

    How many roads must a man walk down?

    9/11

  • ||

    When it was the 9-11 widows no one was allowed to talk about it.

    Someone forgot to tell Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage (real name Weiner), Rusty Humphries and Neil Bortz.

  • ||

    Nixonesque contempt for the rule of law seems to be Bush's primary criterion for the Attorney General slot. Olson is a natural choice.

  • Episiarch||

    well, New Zealand, here I come.

    Sort of OT, but why in hell would you go to a socialist place like NZ if you are trying to avoid things like this and Hillary's healthcare?

  • ||

    For the scenery.

  • ||

    I know he was a player in the Arkansas Project and that he represented Bush in Bush v. Gore, but for you more lawyerly types how did he perform as Solicitor General? In that position he is duty bound to represent the administration's legal position to the best of his ability so I think we'd have to ignore any rhetorical excess and only care if there was actual malfeasance or poor performance in his duties.

    Being a partisan does not disqualify you from the AG slot. Being a partisan hack would raise some eyebrows amongst the other Team and could legitimately be used as a debate tactic.

    I guess I don't really care one way or another (although I'd prefer an Elliot Richardson type to start cleaning house now instead of 18 months from now).

    Having your third wife out of four being killed during September 11th is not a compelling reason to nominate him.

  • ||

    For the scenery.

    And it's spectacular.

  • JBinMO||

    "How many roads must a man walk down?

    9/11"

    That is a lot of walking.

  • JBinMO||

    "Being a partisan does not disqualify you from the AG slot. Being a partisan hack would raise some eyebrows amongst the other Team and could legitimately be used as a debate tactic."

    So when Hillary is Persident are you not going to complain about AG Hugo Chavez

  • ||

    I got dibs on Iceland.

  • SPD||

    I got crabs in Mexico.

  • ||

    I'm going to Mexico.

  • SPD||

    Don't get crabs.

  • ||

    Bring me back something to eat.

  • ||

    So when Hillary is Persident are you not going to complain about AG Hugo Chavez?

    I don't understand the question.

  • Mr. X||

    Democrats try to stop yet another completely unqualified Bush crony from getting into a high position. The administration responds with bullshit emotional appeals like "why beat up on a 9-11 widower" (as if that somehow qualifies this guy for the AG position).

    Olson is a Republican loyalist. His argument for Bush in Bush v. Gore supports the charge that he is a "Bush crony." However, he is well qualified for the position of Attorney General and nearly everyone agrees he's an excellent lawyer.

    Olson's nomination has a lot of problems, but he's no Alberto Gonzales or Harriet Miers. He's more of a Robert Bork.

  • SPD||

    de stijl,

    Don't try. It was a lame attempt at right-wing Hillary humor, straight outta Town Hall. It's as cliched as suggesting Dubya wants Goebbels as his press secretary and Himmler as his AG. Wait, he would?

    OWWWWWW! (shock received from electrified Godwin collar)

  • ||

    Don't get crabs.

    For the record, I posted that I'm going to Mexico before I saw that SPD got crabs there. Just so no one thinks I'm going there to get an STD.

  • JBinMO||

    You said being a partizan is not a disqualifing factor, my poor attempt at humor was meant to suggest that if Hillary is elected all the people who right now are happy with the way the AGs office is being run will squeal like pigs about government intrusiveness.

  • bubba||

    Isn't the Schiavo thing a counterpoint? As in Terry Schiavo was euthenized, therefore her family should have credibility on that topic.

    It's not like they're lobbying for campaign finance reform.

  • Nigel Watt||

    How many roads must a man walk down?

    9/11

    That's not even a whole road. I guess we're talking about Dick Cheney here.

  • ||

    JBinMO,

    "How many roads must a man walk down?

    9/11"

    That is a lot of walking.


    It's not so bad. There are 11 roads and you only have to walk down 9 of them. Imagine if it was 12/3! Think of all the repetition!

  • ||

    You can't pick on him, he had a severe acne problem as a teenager! How could you be so heartless. Plus his grandparents have died!

  • ||

    Victims of national tragedies only have credibility as it extends to the issues surrounding those tragedies.

    Even this might go to far. A person could never say this publicly and live, but I think that victims are typically too emotionally involved in the tragedy to give rational advice about the proper response. Sometimes their instincts happen to coincide with what is right (as in the case of the 9/11 victims pushing for more extensive study of the collapse of the towers) and they can have the positive role of sustaining public awareness, but I don't know how credible I would consider them when it comes to policy prescriptions.

  • ||

    Desparate ?

    CB

  • ||

    Sort of OT, but why in hell would you go to a socialist place like NZ if you are trying to avoid things like this and Hillary's healthcare?



    Well, as far as I know NZ uses a combination of private insurance and public subsidies to fund its healthcare system. Some of the subsidies may be higher than what are found here.

    Add to that one of the freest business climates in the world plus traditionally British (as opposed to modern nannyism) levels of civil liberties and i'd say you had something pretty far from a "socialist place".

    New Zealand crashed and burned in the seventies and eighties due to its socialist policies (well that and Britain joining the EU which ended the sustem of Commonwealth Preference in trade). They took the lesson to heart and enacted serious reforms.

    And the government that did it was the historically socialist* Labour Party. All the while the "conservative" Nationalist party fought to keep the protectionist and welfare policies that they had implemented since the end of WWII.

    Admittedly that group is no longer in power, but even so the current government does not seem to be interested in backtracking on economic policy. At least not the way the British Tories have post-Thatcher.

    *And these were genuine "nationalize the means of production" socialists, not your wimpy "Social welfare" socialists.

  • ||

    I agree with Ethan's comment at 12:29pm.

    There is after all a reason why we encourage doctors to not treat family members, especially in serious cases.

    There is also a reason why cops do not get investgate crimes involving family members or close friends (or themselves, contrary to what you might have seen in TV dramas).

    People who have been involved in traumas deserve our help, our care and our sympathy.

    But we must be careful about how we treat their accounts of the event. Especially when they get to recommending public policy.

  • jk||

    Ted Olsen is on his 4th wife.

    I just think it remarkable how strongly these Republicans believe in marriage.

  • ||

    """Isn't the Schiavo thing a counterpoint? As in Terry Schiavo was euthenized, therefore her family should have credibility on that topic."""

    When you married family starts with the spouse.

  • ||

    "I just think it remarkable how strongly these Republicans believe in marriage."

    I know zero about Olsen, but does he have a history of touting the sanctity of life-long marriage? Or is this just convenient vitriol? Wait-- "They started it", right?

  • Bhh||

    Who holds back the electric car? Who made Steve Gutenberg a star?

    9/11
    9/11

    Reminds me of this theory I have about Bush. They picked him to run in 2000 because he was one of the few republicans they could dig up who was 1) heterosexual and 2) still on his first wife.

  • Brian Sorgatz||

    SAMMON: I think beating up on a 9-11 widower makes about as much sense as beating up on General Petraeus. When it was the 9-11 widows no one was allowed to talk about it. But here is a guy who lost his wife on 9-11 and they are going to beat him up. I think it makes no sense politically.

    An earlier wife of his met an untimely death in a horrible terrorist attack, therefore America owes him a job as its attorney general.

    Why can't an Iranian ayatollah order the death of this Sammon?

  • Rob||

    Dave,

    I know you need to blog on something, and material can be hard to find on a Friday in Sept. But this is a bit silly. You take one discussion from one not-really-influential partisan and act as though this is an argument folks on the right will use/are using to back Olson for AG.

    Serious conservatives aren't saying this, won't say this, and haven't said this.

    Obviosuly I agree with your point, but it doesn't really need to be made....

  • ||

    """When it was the 9-11 widows no one was allowed to talk about it."""

    This guys must have been in a closet. People were talking about. The right-wing queen Coulter was ripping them a new asshole. She claimed them entering politics made them fair game. Therefore, using her philosophy, if Olsen becomes a candidate for AG, it's fair game.

  • ||

    CB--

    Disparate.

  • ||

    Whoever said Mr. Olson is more like Robert Bork than Alberto Gonzales is right. Not in that Olson's views necessarily align with Bork's, but rather in that Olson has the credentials and the intellectual firepower for the job. His old firm Munger, Tolles and Olson, is known as a lawyer's law firm -- a place where big firms turn for top-shelf appellate work. Whether he would be the administration's utter lapdog, or show a spine on certain issues, is difficult to predict. Who would have predicted that John Ashcroft would discover vertebrae on the surveillance issues?

  • Charlie (Colorado)||

    Because, after all, it's not like being Attorney General has anything to do with terrorism.

  • ||

    """Who would have predicted that John Ashcroft would discover vertebrae on the surveillance issues?"""

    Not I. If Ashcroft wouldn't sign off on it, it makes me think it was real bad. But then again, it's not like they were proposing naked statues.

  • ||

    Real bad. The next AG will have an influence on critical civil liberties matters including surveillance, so maybe the below is not so far off topic.

    One kind of surveillance you hear little about in the MSM is satellite surveillance, no doubt because the technology is super-secret so the enemies of the US cannot know our capabilities. But even someone like me without any actual knowledge of anything classified
    knows that our capabilities are now so good, most people would be astonished how detailed and close-up the images are. But what about use of this technology to peer at people in the US? Is there any law or constitutional limitation that prevents it? Suppose you cannot be seen by others on your property, in your fenced-in back yard, except from overhead. Do you have a reasonable expectation of privacy? Or not because any airplane, helicopter or hang-glider could fly overhead and take a look? What about through the skylight in your bedroom? Do you assume whatever you do with a clear sky overhead is being observed, if not by the NSA then by their counterparts from other countries?

  • x,y||

    "How many roads must a man walk down?

    9/11"

    That is a lot of walking.


    Actually, it's a fraction of a road.

  • ||

    "Do you accept David Petraeus as your personal Lord and Savior?"

    To reiterate, please take a writing class.

  • ||

    what is wrong with that sadsac?

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